Shoppers who visit north Decarie are likely to see some changes in the near future. Spearheaded by Photo Cristal owner Berj Merdjanian, the Association of Merchants and Professionals of Destination Décarie got their wish and will become the Zone Decarie Nord SDC in January. The new Société de développement commercial will have over 330 members and many more have shown interest in joining.
There are already many ideas percolating in the minds of the members, as they have been an association for many years. The SDC will just make it easier to get the municipal government to help with larger projects.
Merdjanian, whose store has been on the street for 41 years and counting, is anxious to move forward. « As a non-profit entity, Destination Décarie did what it could with the limited funds available. As SDC Décarie Nord, we will have bargaining power and support for a bigger and better Decarie corridor, » he says.
Some of the ideas brought forward over the years include WiFi coverage, better lighting and more public areas for people to congregate. Merdjanian and the leaders of the SDC have some bigger plans, including an electric shuttle bus for the zone.
« The coming of the Quinze40 commercial development near us could result in a catastrophic business environment if we are not proactive in bringing in new customers and retaining the old ones, » says Abed Kaoussarani, President of Jaf Prêt à porter.
The borough authorized Destination Décarie to officially create an SDC on August 8.
« The Saint-Laurent administration intends to maintain the positive relationship with the Association of Merchants of Decarie. With the new SDC, this partnership will continue. For us, for the business owners and also for the citizens who shop on Decarie daily, this is excellent news. »
Borough council chose Sophie Mainville as the official Saint-Laurent representative on the board of the Zone Décarie Nord SDC. The economic commissioner at Développement économique Saint-Laurent will join the eight other members.
The Decarie merchants decided to go with a SDC instead of being a non-profit entity because it would offer them better possibilities than through fundraising.
« With it, we act as a united front, we have more weight and say on all decisions taken by City that affect our street. In short, all businesses will benefit from it, » says Kaoussarani.
The more businesses that join, the more resources the SDC will have. They highlight local businesses and services by working to improve the customer experience and the image of the business district involved, while also supporting projects.